Dr Nils O Becht
Project Manager: Tialoc
Nils O Becht graduated from Loughborough with a Masters’ degree in Chemical Engineering in 2004 and with a PhD in 2008. Nils now works in Singapore in engineering for Tialoc. Find out more about his Loughborough experience, career and being admitted to the Professional Engineers Board, Singapore.
I was looking for one of the top schools for Chemical Engineering in the UK in the late 90’s and Loughborough University’s Chemical Engineering department was highly ranked then. I visited Nottingham University and Aston University as well but it was a conversation with Dr. Klaus Hellgardt, a lecturer at Loughborough at the time (now a Professor at Imperial College), who swayed my final decision towards Loughborough.
The University environment has been very stimulating and international which helped me later on in my career given that my Engineering degree has lead me to work in various countries and with people from diverse backgrounds. At Loughborough I was already used to working in teams and with people from not only the UK but also other countries which has been a solid foundation to working in multi-national environments and on large project teams.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
If you are considering Chemical Engineering – whilst it is a challenging degree course – it will provide you with a very broad skill set which are of interest to a range of industries. Loughborough has excellent links to industry and you should consider a sandwich year as the practical experience half-way through the degree can not only help you to prepare yourself better for final year projects but it may also open doors to land a job much more easily after graduation.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?
I was actively involved with the Latin American and Ballroom Dancing Society and was also its Chairman for a year. Additionally, I took part in sports, although not competitively and worked part-time as a DJ at the Students’ Union. The variety of activities offered outside the degree course at Loughborough University are excellent, the Students’ Union is one of the largest in the country and facilities, particularly for sports – for obvious reasons – are great. For me, it made living abroad and far from home much easier and offered a welcome distraction from the rigour of the degree course.
I currently work for the Tialoc Group at their head office in Singapore. The company is privately held with more than 500 professionals primarily based at offices in Singapore, Malaysia, China and Vietnam with additional manufacturing facilities in both Malaysia and China. The company also has a history in Germany and active links to Belgium.
The company is a full service provider that is capable of running a complete project from Engineering, through Construction to start-up in the field of Environmental Technology. The three main areas of focus for the Tialoc Group are Exhaust Gas Treatment, Waste Water Treatment and Hazardous Waste Treatment for industrial applications.
Following on from my MEng at Loughborough I stayed on to complete a PhD degree after which I joined Foster Wheeler (now Wood Group) to pursue an international career in the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) industry. I was given great opportunities to work not only in the UK but also Saudi Arabia and Singapore primarily focussing on the Oil & Gas industry.
After Foster Wheeler, being a German national, I took the opportunity in 2012 to work for a BP subsidiary at one of the refineries in Germany. This turned out to be brief, as an unexpected opportunity arose to change my industry and join a former subsidiary of Worley Parsons based in Singapore with a brief stint in the USA. I now found myself working on air pollution control systems in the Mining and Metals industry focussing on projects in the South East Asia region.
Just recently, I was offered the opportunity to join Tialoc which serves a wide range of industries and is currently running multiple, interesting projects.
As a result of working on a range of projects throughout my career so far I was also able to work in various technical roles, on industrial sites and in recent years also in Project Management.
I was fortunate to gain a breadth of exposure in the industry and became a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK) in 2012 and this year I was admitted as a Professional Engineer (Chemical) in Singapore by the local Professional Engineers Board, a government body.
How does it feel to have been admitted as a Professional Engineer by the Professional Engineers Board in Singapore?
I feel honoured to have passed the examinations and receive the PEng certification from the Professional Engineers Board (PEB), Singapore which allows me to engage in professional engineering services in the branch of Chemical Engineering (other branches are Civil, Mechanical and Electrical) in Singapore. The discipline has recently been added by the PEB to support the new regulatory requirement for Major Hazard Installations in Singapore to register their facility with a so-called ‘Safety Case Regime’ at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
The Chemical Engineering degree has provided me with a strong career foundation and whilst some engineers end up in finance or other industries, I decided to stick with Engineering which has provided a rewarding career so far. For me, it is the variety of tasks and challenges and new projects one can come across that makes the job interesting. Moreover, I had the chance to work on both mega and smaller scale projects, which provided an insight into different aspects of project execution.
As I highlighted before, a Chemical Engineering background offers wide-ranging career opportunities and in my case it has taken me from Europe to the Middle East and now to South East Asia. I am looking to participate in the growth of the Tialoc Group and help the company to continue its expansion in the region and do more work in areas such as hazardous waste treatment and energy recovery from waste gases.
During my work on the Khurais project in Saudi Arabia in 2009, I was the sole representative for my employer for several weeks and successfully helped to oversee the Performance Test of the Gas Oil Separation Plant and see this huge plant in full operation.
Undeniably, it has been a very proud moment to receive the PEng certificate from Mr Desmond Lee (Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development) at the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore at the PE dedication day on 11th November 2017.